Hola! My name is Ángela Pérez and I am a pre-school teacher and an amateur astronomer from Bogotá in Colombia, South America. During the past three months, I worked in Leiden as a member of the EU-UNAWE team. This was a wonderful experience for me, as I share the team’s enthusiasm and passion for astronomy outreach for children.
I have worked at the Planetarium of Bogotá in Colombia for several years. This is how I first came to meet Pedro Russo, EU-UNAWE International Project Manager, as he visited the planetarium during a visit to the country last year.
I worked on several exciting projects during my internship in Leiden, including a book called Astronomy Through Art, in which I created several astronomy activities that involve a variety of different art techniques. The aim is for kids to have fun with astronomy – I certainly had fun demonstrating each activity, in order to take photographs of the finished art projects for the book! The book will be published later this year.
I also travelled with the EU-UNAWE team to Brussels, Belgium, for the European Commission’s Festival of Europe. At the event, I helped to run the UNAWE drawing workshop know as Deadly Moons, which reached hundreds of young children (a large proportion of whom only spoke Spanish).
There are so many moments to talk about, but I have to mention the Transit of Venus. I helped Leiden Observatory to design a special brochure and to get everything ready for the special day. However, in the early morning of 6 June, the Sun was hiding behind huge grey clouds above Leiden. Despite the bad weather, more than a hundred members of the public, including many children, arrived to Leiden’s Old Observatory for the event to enjoy the presentations and other events that had been arranged. I was happy to see how it is sometimes children who encourage adults to come and enjoy astronomy events, like this one. And I had an enjoyable time too, listening to everything in Dutch!
I had many unforgettable moments in Leiden – a city that is full of beautiful places, and, sometimes, wonderful dark and clear skies too. (See the picture above.) I would like to thank Pedro Russo and the rest of the EU-UNAWE team for giving me this wonderful opportunity to help inspire children around the world with the wonders of the Universe.